Of course. Just when you thought you snuck into that auto impound yard undetected, and just when you thought you could hide between a couple cars when a neighbor called police because you weren't as undetected as you thought, here come the cops with their little drone, hovering right above your cool hiding spot and recording your futile attempts to avoid further detection and, ultimately, detention.
It's truly a sad state of affairs when the police are plastering your image on YouTube, just lying there on the ground, plain as day, not getting away with anything. Oh, and getting arrested on burglary charges.
William Leahy was nabbed by Kelso Police in Washington after someone alerted them to a cut impound yard fence. Officers used a Cowlitz County Sheriff's Office drone to locate and monitor Leahy hiding in the yard, and ultimately arrested him when the yard's owner showed up and unlocked the gate. And the footage of Leahy's attempts at subterfuge is almost ... sad:
...A Surveillance Army in the Sky
But this is far from the only time law enforcement has utilized the latest in drone technology:
Cops have been using drones since at least 2011, and used one to arrest Rodney Brossart after an armed standoff over cows that had wandered onto his Lakota, North Dakota farm. By the time of Brossart's arrest, the FAA had already issued 300 "temporary licenses" for U.S. law enforcement and research institutions to use surveillance drones.
Los Angeles rolled out a one-year pilot program last year, the largest city in the nation to do so. Use of the drones was limited to "a handful of tactical situations, searches or natural disasters," and each drone flight required approval by a "high-ranking officer on a case-by-case basis."
Connecticut considered carving out an exception for cop drones in anti-weaponized drone bill proposed last year, but the legislature never took it to a vote. So wait, does that mean that cops can have deadly drones?
It's no shock that the Border Patrol wants its own drones. But it may be surprising to find out it took until this year for agency to start testing a drone surveillance program for the border.